Attendees inspired, amazed at TEDx at OU

Marina Morris told her “60 Second Story” for her talk. The heartfelt and inspiring speech about Morris overcoming society’s perception of her cerebral palsy earned a standing ovation. 

Approximately 500 TEDx Oakland attendees entering the O’rena on Oct. 23 were greeted by a multitude of interesting booths filled by interactive labs on one side of a set of large black curtains. 

Crossing to the other side of the black curtains, chairs were laid out forming a semi-circle around a large stage with a TEDx Oakland placard standing beneath two large screens projecting speaker’s names and videos.  

The conference opened with an hour devoted to TEDx Oakland labs, in which people were able to walk to the different booths to learn about new innovations and various organizations. Among the labs were the Organization for Bat Conservation, i3 Detroit, Camp Casey, Oculus Rift Virtual Reality and OU Student Organic Farmers.

The crowd was able to view a live bat at the booth for bat conservation, receive energy healing through light touch at the Healing Touch Center, greet a Harry Potter cutout at the British at Heart Club, learn about fencing with Oakland’s Fencing Club and even participate in a texting while driving simulator by the Michigan State Police.  

At 9 a.m., attendees were seated for the first session of speakers out of the four throughout the day.  Each morning session consisted of approximately four speakers speaking on ideas from the technology, design, and entertainment spheres.  

Audience members heard of the rise of design in the professional world as well as educational world, the welfare of animals in captivity, technology’s affect on our biochemistry, the power of the jury and how to overcome destructive thoughts in order to become mentally strong.

This is just a sample of the presentations from the morning sessions. Attendees also learned about Oakland’s own modern dance group, Take Root, enjoyed their performance titled “Unorganized Elbows” and an improv comedy routine by PJ Jacokes and Gerald Knight.

During the break for lunch, the lights went up and TED videos from various presentations that the company has organized in the past were played on the big screens behind the stage. In addition, the TEDx Oakland labs remained open, allowing for even more time to explore.

As people came back to their seats after the break, they were greeted by the OU William Beaumont School of Medicine’s DocApella group. This is an acapella ensemble composed of OUWB students who also share a passion for music and singing.

The afternoon’s presenters also included Greg Garrett, CEO and president of CGS Advisors. He spoke about how deeply integrated technology has become into the process of marketing research and how that means that we are living in an age that is ready for large technological shifts to happen.

Perhaps the most inspiring presentation of the afternoon was by Morina Morris, a young woman who was born with Cerebral Palsy in Russia and  then adopted by her American parents at age six. She spoke of the many trials and hardships that she had to endure, including discrimination and overcoming limitations due to her disease.

To find out more about TEDx at OU for future years or to find out more about this year’s presenters, visit

For more photos from TEDx at OU, visit